In 10 Years, Your iPhone Won’t Be a Phone AnymorePosted: June 25, 2017 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, U.S. News | Tags: Activity tracker, Amazoncom, Apple Inc, Apple Watch, Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, IOS, iPhone, iPhone 6, OLED, Samsung Leave a comment
Siri will be the conductor of a suite of devices, all tracking your interactions and anticipating your next moves.
Apple Inc. will still sell an iPhone, but expect the device to morph into a suite of apps and services, enhanced with AI and AR, part of a ‘body area network’ of devices, batteries and sensors.
Christopher Mims writes: It’s 2027, and you’re walking down the street, confident you’ll arrive at your destination even though you don’t know where it is. You may not even remember why your device is telling you to go there.
There’s a voice in your ear giving you turn-by-turn directions and, in between, prepping you for this meeting. Oh, right, you’re supposed to be interviewing a dog whisperer for your pet-psychiatry business. You arrive at the coffee shop, look around quizzically, and a woman you don’t recognize approaches. A display only you can see highlights her face and prints her name next to it in crisp block lettering, Terminator-style. Afterward, you’ll get an automatically generated transcript of everything the two of you said.
As the iPhone this week marks the 10th anniversary of its first sale, it remains one of the most successful consumer products in history. But by the time it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the “phone” concept will be entirely uprooted: That dog-whisperer scenario will be brought to you even if you don’t have an iPhone in your pocket.
Sure, Apple AAPL 0.45% may still sell a glossy rectangle. (At that point, iPhones may also be thin and foldable, or roll up into scrolls like ancient papyri.) But the suite of apps and services that is today centered around the physical iPhone will have migrated to other, more convenient and equally capable devices—a “body area network” of computers, batteries and sensors residing on our wrists, in our ears, on our faces and who knows where else. We’ll find ourselves leaving the iPhone behind more and more often.
Trying to predict where technology will be in a decade may be a fool’s errand, but how often do we get to tie up so many emerging trends in a neat package?
Apple is busy putting ever more powerful microprocessors, and more wireless radios, in every one of its devices. Read the rest of this entry »
China Cracks Down on Unauthorized Internet ConnectionsPosted: January 23, 2017 Filed under: Asia, Breaking News, Censorship, China | Tags: App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, China, Cyberspace Administration of China, Facebook, Government of China, Great Firewall, Internet, The New York Times, Virtual private network Leave a comment
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a notice on its website on Sunday that it is launching a nationwide clean-up campaign aimed at internet service provider (ISP), internet data centrer (IDC), and content delivery network (CDN) companies.
It ordered checks for companies operating without government licenses or beyond the scope of licenses.
The ministry said it was forbidden to create or rent communication channels, including VPNs, without governmental approval, to run cross-border operations.
VPNs can be used to gain access to blocked websites.
China has the world’s largest population of internet users – now at 731 million people – and is home to some of the biggest internet firms such as Tencent Holdings, Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group Holding. Read the rest of this entry »
中国新年: Shanghai Disney Braces for Chinese New Year HolidayPosted: January 12, 2017 Filed under: Art & Culture, Asia, China, Entertainment | Tags: Apple Inc, China, Chinese New Year, Chinese zodiac, Hong Kong, Rooster (zodiac) Leave a comment
SHANGHAI – As the Chinese New Year approaches, Shanghai Disney said Wednesday it has started bracing for its first-ever Lunar New Year with spectacular entertainment programs for visitors.
In honor of the holiday for the Year of the Rooster, the resort is presenting a spectacular series of entertainment programs, seasonal food and beverage offerings, lucky bags and holiday-themed shopping experiences, it said.
The Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, falls on Jan. 28. Chinese have a weeklong holiday for the most important festival of the year.
Throughout the Spring Festival season, the highlight in Shanghai Disneyland will be the nightly program, “Ignite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light” followed by a special event featuring new year wishes from tourists. Read the rest of this entry »
Capital Crackdown: Companies Face Delays Getting Cash Out of ChinaPosted: December 19, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Economics, Global | Tags: American Motors, Apple Inc, Bank of Japan, Business Insider, China, Corporation, Donald Trump, Economy of China, People's Bank of China, United Kingdom Leave a comment
New regulations aimed at slowing the yuan’s decline create confusion for multinationals.
French construction-materials company Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA, is finding it harder to take its money out of China.
“The process of authorization is going to become longer now. The procedures will be controlled more strictly.”
— Javier Gimeno, head of Saint-Gobain’s China operations
The conglomerate—like all multinationals operating there—faces new delays in recent weeks as Chinese regulators impose tougher restrictions on the movement of capital out of the country to slow the yuan’s decline.
“The process of authorization is going to become longer now,” said Javier Gimeno, who heads Saint-Gobain’s China operations. “The procedures will be controlled more strictly.”
Nearly 7% of Saint-Gobain’s world-wide group sales come from Asia and Oceania, a large part of that from China. The new rules are adding confusion and anxiety to a process that had been getting much easier over the past year, he said. The shift could cause some multinationals to rethink future investments in a country where once-sure payoffs are suddenly facing an uncertain return, analysts say.
As of late November, firms that want to exchange yuan into dollars in China now need approval for any transaction greater than $5 million. They also face tighter limits on amounts they can transfer in and out of bank accounts in China to affiliates in other countries, in a practice known as “cross-border sweeping.”
“We hear a lot questions from corporates about whether they will be able to repatriate their money in the future,” said Alexander Tietze, managing director at Acon Actienbank AG, a German bank that advises companies on Chinese investments. He expects foreign investments in China to slow, and cautioned that foreign takeovers or plans for new joint ventures could fail because of the controls.
With the Chinese economy struggling, multinationals have fewer opportunities to reinvest there, which makes it more difficult for them to do much with money trapped in China.
“A majority of clients are currently consolidating and restructuring their China business,” said Bernd-Uwe Stucken, a lawyer with Pinsent Masons LLP in Shanghai. Some clients are closing down their business, with new investments being the exception to the rule, Mr. Stucken said.
Adding to the confusion: it is unclear where the limits are, because regulators haven’t published official rule changes, but instead have given only informal guidance to banks, according to Daniel Blumen, partner at Treasury Alliance Group, a consulting firm.
Calls to the People’s Bank of China weren’t returned. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] JetPacks Are Finally RealPosted: December 13, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Robotics, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation | Tags: Apple Inc, California, Elon Musk, Futurism, Jetpack, media, news, video Leave a comment
It can reach an altitude of over 6,500 feet and travel at over 65 miles per hour.
Sacré Bleu! Move to Name Paris Street After Steve Jobs has French Leftists Freaking OutPosted: December 2, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, France | Tags: Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, Apple Inc, Capitalism, Communists, European Commission, European Union, Google, iPhone, Paris, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs Leave a comment
The local district mayor wants to call one of several new streets around the vast Halle Freyssinet high-tech startup hub the ‘Rue Steve Jobs’ in honor of America’s best-known Capitalist.
PARIS (Reuters) – Geert De Clercq reports: A proposal to name a street after the late Apple Inc chief executive and co-founder Steve Jobs has divided the leftist city council of a Paris district.
“Steve Jobs was chosen because of his impact on the development of personal computing and because he was a real entrepreneur.”
— Spokeswoman for mayor Jerome Coumet
The local district mayor wants to call one of several new streets around the vast Halle Freyssinet high-tech startup hub the “Rue Steve Jobs” in honor of the U.S. inventor of the iPhone who died in 2011.
“The choice of Steve Jobs is misplaced in light of the heritage he has left behind.”
— Communist local councillors
But Green and Communist local councillors in Paris’s 13th district don’t like the idea because of Apple’s social and fiscal practices.
“Steve Jobs was chosen because of his impact on the development of personal computing and because he was a real entrepreneur,” said a spokeswoman for mayor Jerome Coumet, defending the proposal.
She said other streets would be named after British computer scientist and code-breaker Alan Turing, UK mathematician and computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, US naval officer and computer programming pioneer Grace Murray Hopper and French civil engineer Eugene Freyssinet, who invented pre-stressed concrete.
Leftist councillors are not impressed however by Jobs’ reputation and heritage. Read the rest of this entry »
China’s Internet BoomPosted: November 19, 2016 Filed under: Asia, China, Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: 17th century, AdSense, Alibaba Group, Ant Financial Services Group, Apple Inc, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous car, Baidu, China, Department of National Defence (Canada), George Qulaut, Google, Government of China, Internet of Things, Kim dynasty (North Korea), Kim Jong-un, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, MIT Technology Review, Virtual reality Leave a comment
Online experimentation doesn’t have to be limited to tech companies.
Edward Jung It’s tempting to portray the rapid growth of the Chinese Internet as just one more example of China’s efforts to catch up with the West: Alibaba is the eBay of China, Baidu is the Google of China, Didi is the Uber of China, and so on. But China is actually conducting some fascinating experiments with the Internet (see “The Best and Worst Internet Experience in the World“). You just need to look outside the tech sector to notice them.
The most significant innovation is happening not among Chinese Internet companies but in the country’s so-called “real” economy. Corporations in old-school sectors like construction, agriculture, transportation, and banking are pursuing new business models based on big data, social media, and the Internet of things.
These are some of the largest firms of their kind in the world, yet many are young enough to be helmed by their original owner/founders. They’re like Rockefeller, Ford, or Carnegie with access to smartphones.
So it’s China’s largest residential-property developer—not a tech company—that is pioneering the integration of Internet-based technology and services into fully wired communities. Vanke wants to create urban hubs that supply residents with gardens, safe food, travel, entertainment, and medical and educational services, all enabled by the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »
Network Security Company CEO Forced to Resign After ‘Joking’ About Killing TrumpPosted: November 15, 2016 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Administrative leave, Alexis Tsipras, Apple Inc, Barack Obama, Canada, CNN, Donald Trump, Facebook, Hillary Clinton, Josh Earnest, Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Republican Party (United States), White House Leave a comment
Trump-Hating Cuckoo Bananas Matt Harrigan of PacketSled Loses His Mind, Makes Public Death Threats, Declares on Facebook, ‘Bring it, Secret Service’
Sean Gallagher reports: Matt Harrigan, the CEO of San Diego-based network security startup PacketSled, resigned yesterday after a flurry of comments he made on Facebook went viral over the weekend, prompting the company to place him on administrative leave and to report his comments to the Secret Service. Harrigan’s comments weren’t the usual sort of executive meltdown—they amounted to a declaration that Harrigan was going to assassinate President-elect Donald Trump.
In a Facebook thread about last week’s presidential election, Matt Harrigan wrote, “I’m going to kill the President Elect.”
“Bring it secret service,” he wrote.
While those may have been rage posts stemming from the election last week, Harrigan went on to describe how he was going to buy a sniper rifle and hunt down Trump when he moved into the White House. “Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts,” he wrote in one of a series of comments on a thread about the election. “Find a bedroom in the whitehouse [sic] that suits you motherfucker. I’ll find you.”
CEO Matt Harrigan who posted “sniper attack” post below has been placed on administrative leave.#tcot #PJNET
— vanguard ninja (@INTJutsu) November 14, 2016
[Read the full story here, at Ars Technica]
The comments went viral in screenshots, being posted first on Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit. On Sunday, Harrigan apologized on his company’s blog for the comments, saying that his rant “was intended to be a joke, in the context of a larger conversation, and only privately shared as such.” Read the rest of this entry »
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Calls Company ‘People’s News Network’Posted: October 11, 2016 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Apple Inc, Character (computing), Facebook, GIF, Google, Jack Dorsey, Microsoft, San Francisco, The Verge, Twitter Leave a comment
Liana B. Baker reports: Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey defined one of the company’s missions as being the “people’s news network,” according to an internal memo seen on Monday.
The 10-year-old social networking service has long struggled to define its core purpose and is under the spotlight as it explores selling itself in a process that has attracted potential buyers such as Salesforce.com.
Twitter has made a recent push into news and sports on mobile devices and this foray could pique the interest of a media company as an acquirer, analysts have said.
“Twitter is what’s happening, and what everyone is talking about… News and talk. We’re the people’s news network.”
The memo does not address the sales process. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bloomberg, which first published the memo Monday, reported that it was sent to employees last week. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] New Features in MacOS SierraPosted: September 7, 2016 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere, Science & Technology, U.S. News | Tags: Apple Inc, Apple Music, Google Drive, iCloud, IOS, IOS 10, iPhone, Mac OS, MacOS Sierra, OS X Leave a comment
- Sierra wallpaper
- Storage Recommendations (System Information)
- Optimize Mac Storage (iCloud → iCloud Drive options)
- Remove items from the Trash after 30 days
- Desktop and Documents folder live on iCloud Drive
- Keep folders on top when sorting by name
- Notification Center updated design
- Choose output from sound button in menu bar
- Move any menu bar item
- Prefer tabs when opening documents
- Tabs in maps
- Double space enters a period
- Safari and iTunes Picture in Picture
- Updated Console app
- Dwell Control
- Auto Unlock
- APFS Apple File System
- Universal Clipboard
- Intelligent Search
- Large emoji
- Inline video playback
- Inline links
- Redesigned Apple Music features in iTunes
Apple Rolls Out Swimproof ‘Apple Watch Series 2’ with White Ceramic Option, Nike+ Version, GPS, MorePosted: September 7, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, Apple Watch, Battery (electricity), Byte Magazine, California, Cupertino, Global Positioning System, Hermès, iPhone, iPhone 6, Smartwatch 1 Comment
Apple CFO Jeff Williams has unveiled the next generation of Apple Watch on stage at its big event today.
Apple CFO Jeff Williams has unveiled the next generation of Apple Watch on stage at its big event today.
The new model is called Apple Watch Series 2. Adding to the splash proof feature of the original model, the new Apple Watch is actually swim proof. Apple Watch Series 2 adds swim tracking to the Workouts app including pool swimming and open water swimming. The Apple Watch speaker is the only unsealed part of the casing and it intelligently ejects water after a workout.
[For full coverage check back with 9to5Mac‘s ongoing announcements]
Apple Watch Series 2 features a new S2 chip with a faster dual-core processor and a new GPU with 2x graphics performance. The new display is also 2x brighter at 1000 nits, the brightest for any Apple display.
Built-in GPS is also included for outdoor running and walking without iPhone. Apple Watch Series 2 improves the pace and distant tracking and displays routes on the iPhone even when you don’t bring it along.
Apple Watch Series 2 adds a new ceramic (white) build option in addition to aluminum and stainless steel. Hermès is also introducing two new bands with Series 2.
Apple Watch Series 2 is also available in a new Nike+ version with a special version of the Sports band paired with the aluminum model watch. Nike+ Apple Watch is offered in four color options. Read the rest of this entry »
European Ruling against Apple and Ireland Vindicates BrexitPosted: August 30, 2016 Filed under: Economics, Global, Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: Apple Inc, Associated Press, Brussels, Competition law, Corporate tax, European Commission, European Union, Ireland, Margrethe Vestager, Tax 1 Comment
The European Union has shown itself to be a compulsory tax cartel.
Dan Sanchez writes: Taxation is bad enough: two consenting parties arrange a mutually-beneficial exchange, and an interloping third party demands a cut.
What compounded injustice then for a fourth party to enter the scene: a super-state/super-bandit who insists that the shakedown wasn’t big enough. No, the victim must hand over more to the lesser thief, even against the recipient’s will and in spite of his protest!
Thou Shalt Not… Not Steal
Ireland must join the rest of the Union in bleeding the private sector dry.
That is what happened today when the European Commission slapped Apple Inc. with a $14.5 billion bill for back taxes, ruling that Ireland had violated European Union rules by taxing the tech company at too low a rate.
[Read the full story here, at Foundation for Economic Education]
But the Irish government doesn’t want the money! It had promised the low rates decades ago to entice Apple to set up and keep shop in Ireland, bringing the struggling country desperately needed jobs and economic growth. Irish officials are worried that if they renege on that deal, they will risk driving off the geese that lay the golden eggs: Apple, and other businesses as well.
But no, insists the European super-state: sustainably prudent parasitism is not an option. The Irish government must join the rest of the Union in recklessly bleeding its private sector hosts dry until the whole system collapses under its own dead weight. Read the rest of this entry »
Powerful NSA Hacking Tools Have Been Revealed Online: ‘Keys to the Kingdom’Posted: August 16, 2016 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Corruption, Science & Technology, Self Defense, War Room | Tags: Apple Inc, Asunción, Berkeley, California, Cloud computing, Hack, Hacker, Internet, Internet service provider, NSA, The Washington Post, University of California 1 Comment
Strings of code were released to the Internet by a group calling themselves ‘the Shadow Brokers’. They claim the code is a tool that can be used to hack into any computer.
The cache mysteriously surfaced over the weekend and appears to be legitimate.
Ellen Nakashima reports: Some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agency’s elite group of hackers have been revealed in recent days, a development that could pose severe consequences for the spy agency’s operations and the security of government and corporate computers.
“Faking this information would be monumentally difficult, there is just such a sheer volume of meaningful stuff. Much of this code should never leave the NSA.”
— Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley
A cache of hacking tools with code names such as Epicbanana, Buzzdirection and Egregiousblunder appeared mysteriously online over the weekend, setting the security world abuzz with speculation over whether the material was legitimate.
The file appeared to be real, according to former NSA personnel who worked in the agency’s hacking division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO).
[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]
“Without a doubt, they’re the keys to the kingdom,” said one former TAO employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal operations. “The stuff you’re talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad.”
Said a second former TAO hacker who saw the file: “From what I saw, there was no doubt in my mind that it was legitimate.”
“Without a doubt, they’re the keys to the kingdom. The stuff you’re talking about would undermine the security of a lot of major government and corporate networks both here and abroad.”
Strings of code were released to the Internet by a group calling themselves “the Shadow Brokers”. They claim the code is a tool that can be used to hack into any computer.
The file contained 300 megabytes of information, including several “exploits,” or tools for taking control of firewalls in order to control a network, and a number of implants that might, for instance, exfiltrate or modify information.
The exploits are not run-of-the-mill tools to target everyday individuals. They are expensive software used to take over firewalls, such as Cisco and Fortinet, that are used “in the largest and most critical commercial, educational and government agencies around the world,” said Blake Darche, another former TAO operator and now head of security research at Area 1 Security.
The software apparently dates back to 2013 and appears to have been taken then, experts said, citing file creation dates, among other things.
“The tools were posted by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers using file-sharing sites such as BitTorrent and DropBox.”
“What’s clear is that these are highly sophisticated and authentic hacking tools,” said Oren Falkowitz, chief executive of Area 1 Security and another former TAO employee.
Several of the exploits were pieces of computer code that took advantage of “zero-day” or previously unknown flaws or vulnerabilities in firewalls, which appear to be unfixed to this day, said one of the former hackers.
The disclosure of the file means that at least one other party — possibly another country’s spy agency — has had access to the same hacking tools used by the NSA and could deploy them against organizations that are using vulnerable routers and firewalls. It might also see what the NSA is targeting and spying on. And now that the tools are public, as long as the flaws remain unpatched, other hackers can take advantage of them, too.
“The disclosure of the file means that at least one other party — possibly another country’s spy agency — has had access to the same hacking tools used by the NSA and could deploy them against organizations that are using vulnerable routers and firewalls. It might also see what the NSA is targeting and spying on. And now that the tools are public, as long as the flaws remain unpatched, other hackers can take advantage of them, too.”
The NSA did not respond to requests for comment.
“Faking this information would be monumentally difficult, there is just such a sheer volume of meaningful stuff,” Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, said in an interview. “Much of this code should never leave the NSA.”
The tools were posted by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers using file-sharing sites such as BitTorrent and DropBox. Read the rest of this entry »
Oddly, No Emails Found for Hillary Clinton’s Senior IT Staffer at State DepartmentPosted: May 10, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Crime & Corruption, Law & Justice, Politics | Tags: Apple Inc, Democratic Party (United States), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fox News Channel, Hillary Clinton, iPhone, National Security Agency, New York, The Pantsuit Report, United States Department of Justice, United States Department of State 1 Comment
Justin Fishel reports: The State Department said today it can’t find Bryan Pagliano’s emails from the time he served as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior information technology staffer during her tenure there.
Pagliano would have been required to turn over any official communications from his work account before he left the government. State Department officials say he had an official email account, but that they can’t find any of those records he would have turned over and continue to search for them.
“It’s hard to believe that an IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s reckless email server never sent or received a single work-related email in the four years he worked at the State Department. Such records might shed light on his role in setting up Clinton’s server, and why he was granted immunity by the FBI. But it seems that his emails were either destroyed or never turned over, adding yet another layer to the secrecy surrounding his role.”
— Raj Shah, RNC’s Deputy Communications Director
“The Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said today, referencing a file format that holds email.
“To be clear, the Department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material. The Department has located a pst from Mr. Pagliano’s recent work at the Department as a contractor, but the files are from after Secretary Clinton left the Department,” Trudeau added.
After this story was posted, Trudeau reached out to ABC News, amending her previous statement to say that despite the absence of his original pst file, some small amount of Pagliano’s email has been recovered, suggesting they were gleaned from other email accounts. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s Time To Do Something About China’s Internet CensorshipPosted: May 2, 2016 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Apple Inc, Beijing, Communist Party of China, European Union, Government of the People's Republic of China, Intellectual property, Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China, Internet in China, iPhone, Muslim world, Office of the United States Trade Representative, People's Liberation Army, President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping Leave a comment
Just last week, Beijing further tightened the screws on US companies when it imposed a ban on Apple’s online book and film services. The order came as part of a broader set of regulations, introduced in March, which established strict curbs on all online publishing.
Claude Barfield writes: For the first time this year, the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) “National Trade Estimate Report” took note of China’s Great Firewall. Granted, it was with this tame statement: “China’s filtering of cross-border Internet traffic has posed a significant burden to foreign suppliers.” The report did not indicate what steps, if any, the US plans to take against the People’s Republic of China’s heavy-handed and economically damaging censorship regime. But it is high time for the US, possibly in conjunction with other major trading partners, to test the legality of China’s sweeping Internet censorship system.
The nature of Chinese censorship
Chinese online censorship operations are not new, and they have been well-documented for over a decade. But the situation has grown worse since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012. Today, the USTR reports that eight of the 25 most trafficked websites worldwide are currently blocked by the Chinese government. Especially targeted are popular search engines such as Google, as well as user-generated content platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Sometimes, the blockade is permanent — Google formally withdrew from China in 2010 — but more often it is intermittent and random, as has occurred with increasing frequency with Gmail and Hotmail. The New York Times has been banned since 2012, and recently (as a result of reporting on the misdeeds of President Xi’s relatives) the Economist and Time magazine have also secured spots on the honored block list. Just last week, Beijing further tightened the screws on US companies when it imposed a ban on Apple’s online book and film services. The order came as part of a broader set of regulations, introduced in March, which established strict curbs on all online publishing.
In many cases, the filters and blocks carry with them a strong whiff of industrial policy. The now-giant Chinese firm Baidu received a huge boost when Google was forced to withdraw from the Chinese market (Baidu stock shot up 16 percent the day Google announced its withdrawal). Sina’s Weibo and Tencent’s QQ are direct competitors to popular blocked websites such as Twitter and Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »
Meet the Company Offering a Chance at Immortality for $200,000Posted: April 26, 2016 Filed under: Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: Alcor Life Extension Foundation, American Fork, Apple Inc, Arizona, Elon Musk, Larry Page, PayPal, Peter Thiel, Scottsdale, Silicon Valley, SpaceX, Tesla Motors Leave a comment
More and more people are signing up to be frozen for a chance at life after death. So the question is, would you?
Zack Guzman writes: In the desert climate of Scottsdale, Arizona, rest 147 brains and bodies, all frozen in liquid nitrogen with the goal of being revived one day.
It’s not science fiction — to some it might not even be science — yet thousands of people around the world have put their trust, lives and fortunes into the promise of cryonics, the practice of preserving a body with antifreeze shortly after death in hopes future medicine might be able to bring the deceased back.
“If you think back half a century or so, if somebody stopped breathing and their heart stopped beating we would’ve checked them and said they’re dead,” said Max More, CEO of the Scottsdale-based Alcor. “Our view is that when we call someone dead it’s a bit of an arbitrary line. In fact they are in need of a rescue.”
That “rescue” begins the moment a doctor declares a patient dead. Alcor’s team then prepares an ice bath and begins administering 16 medications and variations of antifreeze until the patient’s temperature drops to near freezing.
“The critical thing is how fast we get to someone and how quickly we start the cooling process,” More said. In order to ensure that can happen, Alcor stations equipped teams in the U.K., Canada and Germany and offers members a $10,000 incentive to legally die in Scottsdale, where the record for getting a patient cooled down and prepped for an operation is 35 minutes.
Next, a contracted surgeon removes a patient’s head if the member selected Alcor’s “Neuro” option, as it’s euphemistically called, in hopes that a new body can be grown with a member’s DNA once it comes time to be thawed out. It’s also the much cheaper route. At a price tag of $80,000, it’s less than half the cost of preserving your whole body. “That requires a minimum of $200,000, which isn’t as much as it sounds, because most people pay with life insurance,” More said.
In fact, such a business model is pretty consistent in the nonprofit cryonics community. Michigan-based Cryonics Institute offers a similar payment structure, albeit at the more affordable cost of just $28,000 for whole-body preservation. Which begs the question: Why the price discrepancy?
“We’ve been very conservative in the way we plan the financing,” More said. “Of that $200,000, about $115,000 of it goes into the patient care trust fund,” which is meant to cover eventual costs and is controlled by a board of trustees (a certain number of which is required to have loved ones currently in cryopreservation). More says the trust currently boasts a total of over $10 million, which is supported by Alcor’s most recent nonprofit 990 filings.
Who is doing this?
When More came to the U.S. in 1986 from Britain to train at Alcor, it was run by volunteers and he signed up as Alcor’s 67th member. Since then, the company has hired a full-time staff of eight employees, boosted its membership to more than 1,000, and is looking into doubling the size of its patient care bay.
Justice Department to Apple: ‘Never Mind’Posted: March 28, 2016 Filed under: Law & Justice, Science & Technology, Terrorism, U.S. News | Tags: Apple Inc, Apple iPhone 5C, California, Federal Bureau of Investigation, IOS, iPhone, James B. Comey, San Bernardino, The Wall Street Journal, United States Department of Justice Leave a comment
The Justice Department is expected to withdraw from its legal action against Apple, as soon as today, as an outside method to bypass the locking function of a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone has proved successful, a federal law enforcement official said Monday.
[Read the full story here, at USAToday]
The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the method brought to the FBI earlier this month by an unidentified entity allows investigators to crack the security function without erasing contents of the iPhone used by Syed Farook, who with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the December mass shooting that left 14 dead.
Monday’s withdrawal would culminate six weeks of building tensions.
The foes were poised to exchange legal body blows in a court room in Riverside, Calif., last week before the Justice Department belatedly asked for — and was granted — a postponement.
“It’s not about one phone. It’s very much about the future. You have a guy in Manhattan saying I’ve got a hundred and seventy-five phones that I want to take through this process. You’ve got other cases springing up all over the place where they want phones taken through the process. So it’s not about one phone, and they know it’s not about one phone.”
— Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with Time last week.
Since a federal magistrate in California in mid-February ordered the company to assist the FBI in gaining access to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook’s seized iPhone, the legal filings and rhetoric between the world’s most valuable technology company and one of the largest crime-fighting organizations in the world had sharpened into verbal vitriol.
This month, Apple said the “Founding Fathers would be appalled” because the government’s order to unlock the iPhone was based on non-existent authority asserted by the DOJ. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent Online, Study SaysPosted: March 21, 2016 Filed under: Censorship, Mediasphere, Think Tank | Tags: Apple Inc, Apple iPhone 5C, Bill Gates, Central Intelligence Agency, Edward Snowden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal government of the United States, iPhone, Islamic State of Iraq, National Security Agency, United States Leave a comment
A new study shows people may be censoring themselves without realizing it.
Nafeez Ahmed reports: Thanks largely to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, most Americans now realize that the intelligence community monitors and archives all sorts of online behaviors of both foreign nationals and US citizens.
But did you know that the very fact that you know this could have subliminally stopped you from speaking out online on issues you care about?
“What this research shows is that in the presence of surveillance, our country’s most vulnerable voices are unwilling to express their beliefs online.”
Now research suggests that widespread awareness of such mass surveillance could undermine democracy by making citizens fearful of voicing dissenting opinions in public.
A paper published last week in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, the flagship peer-reviewed journal of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), found that “the government’s online surveillance programs may threaten the disclosure of minority views and contribute to the reinforcement of majority opinion.”
The NSA’s “ability to surreptitiously monitor the online activities of US citizens may make online opinion climates especially chilly” and “can contribute to the silencing of minority views that provide the bedrock of democratic discourse,” the researcher found.
The paper is based on responses to an online questionnaire from a random sample of 255 people, selected to mimic basic demographic distributions across the US population.
[Read the full story here, at Motherboard]
Participants were asked to answer questions relating to media use, political attitudes, and personality traits. Different subsets of the sample were exposed to different messaging on US government surveillance to test their responses to the same fictional Facebook post about the US decision to continue airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
They were then asked about their willingness to express their opinions about this publicly—including how they would respond on Facebook to the post; how strongly they personally supported or opposed continued airstrikes; their perceptions of the views of other Americans; and whether they supported or opposed online surveillance. Read the rest of this entry »
Leaked Images Claim to Show iPhone SE Display, Confirm Lack of 3D Touch SupportPosted: February 27, 2016 Filed under: Mediasphere, Science & Technology, U.S. News | Tags: 9to5Mac, Apple Inc, Apple iPhone 5S, Belkin, Installation (computer programs), iPad, IPad Air, iPhone, Mark Gurman, Screen protector Leave a comment
Chance Miller reports: Earlier this week we shared drawings of Apple’s upcoming 4-inch device and reported that Apple plans to call the device the iPhone SE. Now, French site NowhereElse has shared images that claim to show the front display portion of the upcoming device. We’ve long reported that the iPhone SE won’t feature support for 3D Touch, and these images corroborate that.
3D Touch, a flagship feature of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, works by taking advantage of a pair of capacitive touch sensors beneath the display. As you can see in the image above, which shows the iPhone SE next to the iPhone 6s, the smaller device lacks the sensors necessary to support 3D Touch.
[Read the full story here, at 9to5Mac]
Other than the lack of 3D Touch, the leaked images don’t appear to show too much about the iPhone SE. 3D Touch was one of the features highlighted the most when Apple announced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus last year. The company also touted Live Photos, a feature that the smaller iPhone SE is expected to offer. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] WOZICON: Apple Co-founder Starts Silicon Valley Comic ConPosted: February 22, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Comics, Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, CNBC, Comicon, iPhone, Jan Koum, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Sundar Pichai, Whatsapp Leave a comment
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak had a front-row seat as the personal computer began to reshape society, so it made perfect sense to him to bring a convention meshing technology with pop culture to Silicon Valley.
Apple to Judge: Drop Dead!Posted: February 17, 2016 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: Apple Inc, Apple iPhone 5S, FBI, IOS, iPad, iPhone, IPod Touch, National security, Patriot Act, San Bernardino, Technician, Terrorism, The Daily Dot, The Guardian 1 Comment
Where would you draw the line between liberty and security?
Stephen Green writes: Here’s the setup.
San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook owned an iPhone 5c, which may have been used — probably was used — in planning and perhaps even executing the holiday party terror attack with his wife, Tashfeen Malik.
That iPhone 5c, just like any other up-to-do-date iOS or Android smartphone, has disc-level encryption baked into the OS for users who want that level of privacy, for good or for ill.
Yesterday,U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to bypass the phone’s security functions, and furthermore “to provide related technical assistance and to build special software that would essentially act as a skeleton key capable of unlocking the phone.”
[Read the full story here, at PJ Media]
Here’s what happened next:
Hours later, in a statement by its chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, Apple announced its refusal to comply. The move sets up a legal showdown between the company, which says it is eager to protect the privacy of its customers, and the law enforcement authorities, who assert that new encryption technologies hamper their ability to prevent and solve crime.In his statement, Mr. Cook called the court order an “unprecedented step” by the federal government. “We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” he wrote.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond publicly to Apple’s resistance.
The F.B.I. said its experts had been unable to access data on the iPhone 5c and that only Apple could bypass its security features. F.B.I. experts have said they risk losing the data permanently after 10 failed attempts to enter the password because of the phone’s security features.
The Justice Department had secured a search warrant for the phone, owned by Mr. Farook’s former employer, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, which consented to the search.
Because Apple declined to voluntarily provide, in essence, the “keys” to its encryption technology, federal prosecutors said they saw little choice but to get a judge to compel Apple’s assistance.
Mr. Cook said the order amounted to creating a “back door” to bypass Apple’s strong encryption standards — “something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create.”
Security hawks are on solid ground when they worry (as I do) that Farook’s encrypted iPhone might contain data valuable to government efforts to stop future terror attacks on U.S. soil, or to aid intel efforts to locate, track, and kill Farook’s ISIS contacts overseas.
But that’s not the only worry, as Doug Mataconis explains:
From Apple’s point of view, there seem to be a myriad of issues motivating the decision to take what has the potential to be an unpopular decision given the circumstances of this case. First of all, there is the fact that ever since the company made the decision to strengthen security on its phones in a manner that essentially allows customers to encrypt data in a manner that makes it nearly impossible to access without the appropriate pass code, the concerns about data security have only become more prominent and that providing a backdoor that does not exist right now would only serve to make the data itself less secure overall. Second, as the Post article notes the use of the All Writs Act in this manner appears to be unprecedented and, if upheld, would essentially allow the government to do almost anything in the name of law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Finally, and perhaps most strongly, it’s important to note that law enforcement isn’t asking Apple to provide information that it already has, which is what an ordinary search warrant does. It is essentially asking a Federal Court to compel Apple to do something, in this case create a backdoor that does not exist. This arguably falls well outside the scope of the Fourth Amendment and, if upheld, would give law enforcement authority to compel technology companies to do almost anything conceivable in the name of a purported investigation or surveillance of a target. That seems to go well beyond what the Constitution and existing law permits law enforcement to do.
Apple Reports Slowing Growth for iPhone SalesPosted: January 26, 2016 Filed under: Economics, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, Cupertino, Financial crisis of 2007–2008, iPhone, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Leave a comment
SAN FRANCISCO —Katie Benner reports: Apple’s iPhone has officially entered a slow-growth period.
Apple on Tuesday said that it sold 74.8 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 26, up less than 1 percent from the 74.5 million sold a year ago. That represented the slowest year-over-year rate of growth for the device since it was introduced in 2007.
“There will be some speed bumps ahead until we get to the iPhone 7 mega-product cycle later this year.”
— Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets
The iPhone, Apple’s flagship product, is closely watched by investors because the smartphone accounts for two-thirds of the company’s annual revenue.
In total, Apple’s revenue for the quarter was $75.9 billion, up 1.7 percent from a year ago, and lower than Wall Street forecasts of $76.6 billion. Net profit was $18.4 billion, up from $18 billion a year earlier.
Apple’s rate of growth is not set to improve anytime soon. The company, based in Cupertino, Calif., also issued a lower-than-anticipated forecast for the current quarter, which ends in March. Apple projected revenue of $50 billion to $53 billion, down from $58 billion from a year earlier and lower than the $55.4 billion forecast by Wall Street, according to S&P Capital IQ.
The results and forecast reflect how Apple, under its chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, is grappling with becoming a maturing tech company. While Apple once delivered high double-digit revenue gains on the back of soaring sales of the iPhone and other devices, growth rates have slowed as the iPhone has begun saturating the market and the company has not introduced a new blockbuster device.
Investors are already treating Apple more like a value stock than a growth stock, associating the company with predictable business results and a reliable dividend rather than runaway revenue growth.
In the period leading up to the earnings announcement, investors had lowered expectations for the quarter based on the belief that demand for Apple’s latest iPhones, the 6S and 6S Plus, had been weak. Read the rest of this entry »
China is Putting Tighter Controls on Online Mapping ServicesPosted: December 18, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Global | Tags: Apple Inc, Autonomous car, Baidu, Beijing, BMW 3 Series, China, DocumentCloud, Google, Google Maps, Jing Wang, Philippines, Xinhua News Agency Leave a comment
New regulations could make it harder than ever for Google to re-enter the world’s largest market.
David Z. Morris reports: In rules released this week, China’s State Council announced that all digital maps provided in China be stored on servers within its borders. The rules, which also lay out certification standards for digital mapping providers, will go into effect Jan. 1.
“Keeping map servers within China would, in theory, give its government even more control over what its citizens see. But the move is arguably redundant—China has long held mapping services to strict content standards, and blocks those that don’t comply.”
According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, the purpose of the new regulations is to “boost development of the geographic information industry” and safeguard “national sovereignty and geographic information security.”
“Google has since made moderate concessions in its representation of Chinese borders on maps accessed from outside of the country, changing the names of disputed regions and depiction of Chinese borders with India and the Philippines”
The rules seem much heavier on tightening control than on boosting development. In addition to the server location requirements, map providers are prohibited both from displaying or even storing any data deemed to be prohibited by the government. Government officials will be able to regularly inspect data for “errors and leaks of information that threaten national sovereignty,” according to Xinhua. Read the rest of this entry »
Virtual Reality Gets RealPosted: December 13, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: Apple Inc, Associated Press, Augmented Reality, Avalon Hollywood, Bob Sproull, Facebook, Head-mounted display, Ivan Sutherland, Los Angeles, Oculus Rift, Peter Koo, Samsung, Virtual reality, VR Leave a comment
It’s been around for decades, but virtual reality has been anything but real for most people. That’s about to change as a slew of new virtual-reality technologies get set to tempt your wallet. Some of them are even available in time for this year’s holidays.
This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Larry Greenemeier. Got a minute? Virtual reality started off as a way for scientists to visualize their research. Ken Perlin, a computer science professor and pioneer in the field of virtual reality, explains:
[Ken Perlin:] The first people who seriously developed virtual reality were Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull back in 1968. They built a very large device, which they nicknamed the “Sword of Damocles” because it was a very large contraption that hung over your head and carried the headset with it as it moved around on a giant boom arm.”
The latest generation of VR technology is a little different. Some new consumer headsets, including Samsung’s Gear VR and even Google’s very basic Cardboard visor rely on your smartphone.
New gadgets expected to launch in 2016 will be a bit more sophisticated.
[Perlin:] “The major commercial releases of virtual reality that will appear in the first half of 2016 track your head, and they track your two hands.
[Perlin:] “In order to have a full social experience with other people of being in a world together, you also need to know where your feet are. Once you know your head and your hands and your feet, then you can build a computer graphic representation of everybody.”
This version promises to address a major problem the technology faced in the past.
[Perlin:] “Motion sickness was a problem when the delay between my head movement and the graphics that I saw exceeded a certain threshold, generally about a 10th of a second. Modern technologies that make use of these inertial trackers in the headsets have pretty much gotten rid of that.”
Virtual reality will first invade our homes offices and classroomsthrough games and educational tools. But Perlin thinks the technology will become much more than that over time. Read the rest of this entry »
Google Exploring Shanghai’s Free-Trade ZonePosted: December 8, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Politics, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, Asia, California, California Institute of Technology, China, Department of Motor Vehicles, Diyarbakır, Free trade zone, Google, India, Information technology, iPad, iPhone, Shanghai, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal Leave a comment
Companies such as Amazon and Apple use Shanghai’s free-trade zone to run some of their value-added services in China, due to the area’s looser rules on foreign capital.
Yang Jie reports: The jury is still out on the business benefits of Shanghai’s free-trade zone— but one notable U.S. tech giant is among the firms that has dipped a toe into the pilot area’s waters.
“The free-trade zone’s rules make it easier for foreign companies to run e-commerce operations, for example. But they have little benefit when it comes to activities such as Internet search and e-mail, which are dependent on the location of the server and the storage of data”
Google, of Mountain View, Calif., set up a company in Shanghai’s pioneer free-trade zone last year, according to online filings reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Companies such as Amazon and Apple use Shanghai’s free-trade zone to run some of their value-added services in China, due to the area’s looser rules on foreign capital and greater freedom in terms of industries that foreign businesses can participate in.
The free-trade zone’s rules make it easier for foreign companies to run e-commerce operations, for example. But they have little benefit when it comes to activities such as Internet search and e-mail, which are dependent on the location of the server and the storage of data, according to people familiar with the matter.
A Google spokesman declined to comment on the issue. The company’s establishment was first reported on Monday by The Paper, a Shanghai-based media outlet.
Read the rest of this entry »
Andrew C. McCarthy: What Americans Need to Know About the Encryption DebatePosted: December 1, 2015 Filed under: France, Law & Justice, Politics, Terrorism, Think Tank | Tags: Al-Nusra Front, Andrew C. McCarthy, Apple Inc, Data Collection, Hebron, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, National security, NSA, Palestinian people, Paris terrorist attacks, Pentagon, Surveillance, West Bank 1 Comment
In the surveillance area, I believe the public is mostly wrong.
Andrew C. McCarthy writes: Should private companies that provide users with encryption technology be required to assist law-enforcement and intelligence services to defeat that technology? This question is a more pressing one in the wake of November’s Paris terrorist attacks. But it is a very tough question that has vexed both the government and providers of communications services for years.
“The problem is that encryption technology has gotten very tough to crack and very widely available. Consequently, if terrorists or other high-level criminals are using it to carry out schemes that endanger the public, government agents cannot penetrate the communications in real time.”
Part of what makes it so difficult is the new facts of life. As I noted during the debate over the NSA’s bulk-collection of telephone metadata, we are operating in a political environment that is night-and-day different from the aftermath of 9/11. Back then, a frightened public was demanding that the government do a better job of collecting intelligence and thwarting terrorist plots. Of course that sentiment was driven by the mass-murder of nearly 3,000 Americans, coupled with the destruction of the World Trade Center and a strike against the Pentagon. But it also owed in no small measure to the fact that government had done such an incompetent job gathering and “connecting the dots” prior to the attacks. There was a strong public sense that intelligence agencies needed an injection of muscle.
“That they have a legal basis to conduct surveillance is beside the point; all the probable cause in the world won’t help an agent who lacks the know-how to access what he’s been authorized to search.”
Today, the public’s sense tends in the other direction. There have been spectacular abuses of government power (e.g., IRS scandal), and intrusive security precautions infused by political correctness (e.g., airport searches). Americans understandably suspect that government cannot be trusted with enhanced authorities and that many of its tactics are more about the appearance of security than real security.
[Read the full story here, at PJ Media]
It is, moreover, no longer sufficient for the national-security right to posit that security measures pass legal muster. The public wants proof that these measures actually and meaningfully improve our security, regardless of whether they are justifiable as a matter of law.
This makes it a very uphill environment in which to suggest, as FBI Director Jim Comey has recently done, that communications providers should provide the government with keys to unlocking their encryption technology – encryption-key repositories or what is often called “backdoor” access.
The problem is that encryption technology has gotten very tough to crack and very widely available. Consequently, if terrorists or other high-level criminals are using it to carry out schemes that endanger the public, government agents cannot penetrate the communications in real time. That they have a legal basis to conduct surveillance is beside the point; all the probable cause in the world won’t help an agent who lacks the know-how to access what he’s been authorized to search. Read the rest of this entry »
What If You Build It – and They Don’t Come? Send the Bill to the TaxpayersPosted: November 29, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Economics, Mediasphere, Politics, Science & Technology, Think Tank | Tags: A123 Systems, Apple Inc, Automotive industry, Autonomous car, Chrysler, cronyism, Electric car, Fiat, Progressivism, Taxpayer, Tesla Motors, Titan (Blizzard Entertainment project) 1 Comment
So-called progressives have no problem taking from the working class to give to the rich – so long as it’s the rich of their choosing… via L.A. Liberty
The Fisker Karma is Back
What if you build it – and they don’t come?
Send the bill to the taxpayers!
This is how you make money in the New America. Well, the green America.
Don’t earn it.
The “business model” is simple enough: Glom on to a politically high-fashion issue – electric cars, for instance. Then obtain government (meaning, taxpayer) “help” to fund their design and manufacture. When no one – or not enough – people buy your electric wunderwagen, simple declare bankruptcy and walk away.
With your pockets full of other people’s money.
Then, when the smoke clears, do it again.
This is exactly what electric car company Fisker – which produces (well, produced) the $110,000 Fisker Karma – did.
And is getting ready to do a second time.
Back in ’09, the company secured $529 million in government loans, which were being doled out generously by the Obama administration (and previously by the Bush administration) under the auspices of something called the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
Well, “loan” is not exactly accurate – because the government doesn’t really have any money of its own to loan. It only has the money it takes from you and me others via taxation. So what really happened is that the government forced the taxpayers of the United States to loan Fisker $529 million. (It also forced the taxpayers to “help” fund another electric boondoggle, the infamous – but now forgotten – Solyndra debacle.)
Fisker, like Tesla, specializes in high-dollar electric exotic cars that – so far – have not earned an honest dollar but have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. Billions, actually. The reason for this ought to be obvious – no engineering degree required.
Electric cars make sense when they are economical cars.
To date, no one has managed to manufacture one. They cost more – overall – to own than conventional cars and they also (unlike conventional cars) have functional liabilities that include long recharge times and limited range. Rather than focus on – and fix – these issues, which might make for a marketplace-viable electric car, manufacturers like Fisker and Tesla build high-performance, flashy and very, very expensive electric cars. On the theory that sex appeal rather than economic sense will sell ’em. … [B]uying a Fisker or a Tesla literally triples or quadruples the cost of driving.
Yes, yes, the cars are sleek and sexy – and even quick.
Which is as relevant insofar as the bottom-line purpose of an electric car… People in a position to buy a six-figure Fisker Karma (like the actor Leonardo diCaprio, for instance) are not struggling to pay their fuel bills.They buy a Fisker or a Tesla as a fashion statement.
But the people who are concerned about gas bills aren’t in the market for a six-figure Fisker.
Hence the need for government “help.”
When you can’t sell ’em, force others to subsidize ’em. Read the rest of this entry »
Back-Alley Upgrades: In China, $100 Can Get You an 128GB iPhone BoostPosted: November 5, 2015 Filed under: Asia, China, Mediasphere | Tags: App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Beijing, China, China Southern Airlines, iPad, iPhone, Palo Alto Networks, WeChat, Xcode Leave a comment
In China’s unbridled marketplace, you can pay $5 for soap made from human breast milk, $800 to take a cosmetics CEO out during Christmas and $430,000 for a purple Bentley convertible once owned by a corrupt official.
If you’re an Apple Inc. device user, you can also now boost your iPhone’s storage from the cramped-feeling 16GB standard to a cavernous 128GB for less than a hundred bucks.
Mobile phone repair shops in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai have sparked curiosity on sidewalks and social media by offering the service, which appears aimed at the many aspirational Chinese device users who can’t afford the roughly $200 premium attached to large-capacity iPhones….(read more)
Source: China Real Time Report – WSJ
China Censors Your InternetPosted: November 1, 2015 Filed under: Asia, Censorship, China, Global, Mediasphere | Tags: Apple Inc, Beijing, China, Internet, President of the People's Republic of China, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, United States, Xi Jinping Leave a comment
In The Wall Street Journal, Information Age columnist Gordon Crovitz writes about how China censors your Internet—Beijing thinks Taylor Swift’s “1989” is code for Tiananmen Square and must be blocked….(read more)
‘Future Teardown’ of an Apple Car Shows Us Who Could be Making the Various ElementsPosted: October 27, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, Automobile, Automotive industry, California, Electric car, Elon Musk, Google, iPhone, Tesla Motors, The Wall Street Journal Leave a comment
Ben Lovejoy reports: While we can’t say for sure that an Apple Car will ever go on sale, it’s a certainty by this point that the company is devoting substantial development resources to the project. Tim Cook said recently that there would be “massive change” in the car industry, and that “autonomous driving becomes much more important.”
But as a recent opinion piece on sister site Electrek argued, and Elon Musk warned, actually manufacturing a car is massively more complex than making consumer electronics devices. Apple will therefore be looking for partners to pull together different elements of the car. Re/code has put together an interesting look at the most likely candidates …
None of the companies would comment on any conversations they have with the Cupertino giant about their own cars. None of them flat-out denied those conversations, either. Google, Tesla and Apple all declined to comment.
The list below is not exhaustive. Yet after conversations with nearly a dozen manufacturers, industry experts and tech companies involved in the world of self-driving cars, Re/code assembled a portrait of the leading, innovative companies and critical dynamics in the autonomous industry.
The exterior of the car could, it suggests, be made by five companies: Roush, Delphi, Edison2, Atieva and Renovo Motors. The first of those, Roush, is a Michigan-based “boutique automotive supplier” which already has one key claim to credibility in the field: it assembled the exterior for Google’s prototype self-driving cars.
[Read the full story here, at 9to5Mac]
Renovo recently teamed-up with engineers from Stanford University to create a self-driving electric DeLorean capable of donuts and drifting. While it was of course a PR stunt, you need some impressive tech to pull it off. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Steve Jobs’ Bombs at Box Office: ‘What Went Wrong’, the Industry VersionPosted: October 26, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Mediasphere | Tags: Aaron Sorkin, Apple Inc, Ashton Kutcher, Christian Bale, Climate change, Danny Boyle, David Fincher, Divestment, Global warming, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Steve Jobs Leave a comment
Brent Lang writes: When Amy Pascal allowed “Steve Jobs” to leave Sony for Universal, the studio chief fretted that she had let a modern day “Citizen Kane” slip through her fingers.
“There was an over-inflated sense of how well this film could do. Its only chance now is to gain awards traction.”
— Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations
The strikingly literate biopic about the Apple co-founder was brilliant she noted, but after Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale passed on the title role, it lacked a major star, limiting its commercial prospects. In the end, Pascal, whose job was already threatened by a string of flops like “After Earth” and “White House Down,” couldn’t justify the risk.
Fast-forward nearly a year. Pascal is out of a job, “Steve Jobs” has debuted to rapturous reviews, and the film is a strong Oscar contender. It’s every bit as good as Pascal thought it would be, but the then Sony chief’s wariness also appears to have been entirely justified.
“Steve Jobs” was too brainy, too cold, and too expensive to make it a success. Moreover, Michael Fassbender, the electrifying Irish actor who replaced Bale as Jobs, lacks the drawing power to open the picture.
Too ‘brainy, too cold, too expensive’ to make it a success? Oh, please. I prefer John Nolte’s analysis:
Everything other than the father-daughter story is subplot, and this wouldn’t be terribly interesting even if it were true. But it’s not true. Sorkin made it all up. Also fabricated is the central conflict between Jobs and Wozniak. Missing is Jobs’ legendary ability to inspire greatness from those around him. Jobs was no angel, few successful people are, but this still feels like a smear job.
Basically, Sorkin used the name Steve Jobs and the historical beats of the man’s life to tell a fictional story about a bunch of rich white people, their personal problems and eccentricities and hang-ups….(read more)
After racking up the year’s best per-screen average in its opening weekend and doing strong business in limited expansion, “Steve Jobs” hit a stumbling block in its national release. It debuted to a measly $7.3 million, only a little more than the $6.7 million that “Jobs,” a critically derided film about the iPhone father with Ashton Kutcher, made in its initial weekend. Going into the weekend, some tracking suggested that the picture would do as much as $19 million.
So what went wrong?
Universal believes that the picture can recover. Studio executives note that it is popular in major urban markets like San Francisco and New York, and argue that the film’s A minus CinemaScore means word-of-mouth will be strong. If it can stay in theaters until Golden Globe and Oscar nominations are announced, they believe it can rebound.
“We are going to continue to support the film in the markets where it is showing strength and we’re going to continue to do it aggressively and proactively,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “The critics are there for it and the buzz in these markets is strong.”
It’s still hard to see how the film turns a profit. Read the rest of this entry »